Wally Maggs - Classic Country Man
Tell us about yourself and your music
I’m a proud Canadian country boy raised in the province of Ontario. As a teenager, I listened to the sounds of such music legends as Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Ricky Scaggs and I became hooked on classic country music.
Over the years I’ve compiled a huge list of country music covers that I perform. I’ve also added a bit of rock ‘n’ roll to my repertoire as well as some gospel and even a bit of bluegrass.
These days I spend the majority of my time performing solo as Wally Maggs. Most of these performances are gigs at private clubs, indoor and outdoor concerts, charitable and fund-raising events, senior and retirement centers and in private homes. At other times I perform with other talented musicians.
I love to entertain people and love to keep busy with anything involving music.
Talk to us more about your latest release
In the last four years, I have been working with a song lyricist, Richard Vande Sompel. We are working to create ten original songs for a future album. Initially, we did two songs, “That Ramblin’ Man” and later “I Just Believe In You”.
Recently Richard wrote the lyrics to a bar song entitled “Drinkin’ Here Today”. It’s a typical drinking song that deals with the typical goings-on that occurs in a tavern among the patrons there. I created what I think is a pretty good melody for the song.
initially I could hear lead guitar and drums in my mind as part of the song. Eventually, I thought that bass, piano and steel guitar wound round out the sound that I wanted.
I asked Richard to write a video script for the song. He directed the video which took place at the Commercial Tavern in Maryhill. Braeden Johnson of Trueview Productions did the filming and editing for the video.
What inspired you to write this release?
I always wanted to create a typical drinking song that you would hear played in a bar or tavern. I loved those classic bar songs done by Merle Haggard, Joe Diffie, Travis Tritt, George Jones, and Willie Nelson. I asked my friend Richard to have a go at creating a song for me to set a melody to. The end result was “Drinkin’ Here Today”.
I truly enjoy performing this song and love the reaction of the concert patrons as they listen and the dancers as they circle the dance floor.
Describe the writing and recording process
Richard did a really good job in drafting the verses and the chorus for our song, “Drinkin’ Here Today”. We both really loved the hook that Richard included several times in the song, “I’m sittin’ on this bar stool And I’m drinkin’ here today”. It just really brought the whole song to life.
Coming up with a melody was simpler than usual this time around. I managed to put a rhythmic pause in the chorus lyric that really made the hook in the song even more emphatic.
Next, I hired some truly great musicians to be a part of the recording sessions. Initially, I recorded a demo version of the song at Jukasa Studios on the Six Nations Reserve with the help of a three-time Juno Award-winning audio engineer, Darren Jeter Magierowski. Later all of the musicians came together to participate in the final recording of the song. Then it was up to Darren to mix and master the final version of the song.
Any plans to hit the road?
On Sunday, October 20 Wally and steel guitar player, Dale Rivard, will perform in the Chartright Hanger at the Breslau/Kitchener Airport from 2:00 – 5:00 pm as part of Frannie’s Restaurant & Bakery’s 3rd annual Beef & Pork Roast. All proceeds will be donated to two charitable causes. Dinner is served from 4:00 to-7:00 pm. Tickets are $30.00 per person.
On Saturday, November 2 Wally and his band will perform during a concert at The Tillsonburg Legion from 7:00-10:00 pm. Performing with Wally will be Paul Chapman on lead guitar, Murray Williams on bass, Dale Rivard on steel guitar and Darren Jeter Magierowski on drums. Doors open at 6:30 pm. Tickets are $15.00 per person.
Wally hopes to do a summer tour of the Maritimes in the not too distant future. Locations, dates and times will be available at a later date.
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I am basically just a down-home country boy. What you see is what you get. I play cover songs, for example, my way. I don’t try to emulate some other performer. I really try and read the audience each time I play and make a connection. A great sense of humor is something that I have and I manage to use it during my performances to help to entertain the crowd. At the end of a performance, I go out into the audience and personally greet each and every person who is willing to chat with me. It’s something that I really enjoy doing.
Who have you been listening to lately?
I listen to a great deal of classic country music. Great songs by Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Martina McBride, George Strait, and the Carter family. Those songs have a sound and a soul all their own. I’m not really a fan of the new country music. Some of those songs have real merit but there are too many that seem to be too gimmicky.
Sirius Radio has a number of classic country stations that are well worth listening to.
Who are your biggest influences?
When I was seven years old I got to listen to and love the music of the Everly Brothers so much so that I picked up a broom as a guitar and pretended that I was singing and playing along with them. Later I listened to the music of Merle Haggard, Ricky Scaggs, Hank Williams, the Carter Family, and George Strait and decided to pursue a career as a country music entertainer. I haven’t looked back since then and have enjoyed five decades as a singer and musician.
Tell us about your passions
Music is my passion plain and simple. It’s with me all my waking hours. I live and breathe it. I feel so alive when I’m working on or practicing a song. On stage, it’s what I absolutely love to do best of all.
When I look out at an audience while performing I make eye contact with people and I truly love to see that emotional connection in their eyes. It’s just the very best feeling especially if I’m performing one of my original songs!
What else is happening next in your world?
Richard and I have been working on future original song number four. It’s called “Let freedom Reign Forever” and is a tribute to members of the military who served in the Canadian armed forces. I’ve already recorded the song at Jukasa Studios and Richard and I are waiting for the finished song to be mixed and mastered. I hope to sing and play the song for the first time before a live audience of military veterans at a special dinner in November in their honor.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Wally Maggs